Biodiversity and our Homes

Our homes and our lifestyles have huge impacts on the environment, but the link between our homes and biodiversity isn’t always that clear… Follow these simple tips to make a difference: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce household pollutants: use cleaning methods and products with environmentally-friendly ingredients to preserve human health and environmental quality. Do you ever wonder what cleaning your house can do to your health, and the health of your children? The chemicals in yo cupboards may be causing your children to get sick and causing you to have long-term side effects, such as respiratory problems. Avoid buying toxic household products, which often end up in the sea, contaminate water supplies and damage the health of humans and wildlife. Use biodegradable plant-based cleaning products, now available at most supermarkets.

Dispose of household chemicals, waste oil and paint correctly: never dispose of chemicals, including paints, down the drain. Hazardous waste is termed hazardous as it contains substances or properties that might cause harm to humans or our environment. This does not always mean that it is toxic. If you have any hazardous chemicals to dispose of from your home, please contact the waste management team for the collection of hazardous materials.

Bag it and bin it: don’t flush it! Put sanitary waste and wrappings, facial wipes, disposable nappies, condoms, cotton buds, razors, incontinence pads and other sanitary items in the dustbin or you might see them again next time you go to the beach or for a river-side walk, posing a health risk to wildlife and humans. Protect the sewers from fat, oil and grease. See the National Bag it and Bin it campaign.

Real Nappies:A baby goes through about 4,000 to 6,000 nappies in its life. By using reusable nappies, families could save up to £300 and reduce the amount of waste we create. Currently in the UK, more than 8 million disposable nappies end up in landfill where they can take hundreds of years to rot away. Real nappies are soft, breathable, naturally absorbent and contain no chemicals or gels and are therefore kind to baby’s skin.

Look out for the European Union Ecolabel: The EU Ecolabel helps you identify products and services that have a reduced impact on the environment throughout their life cycle, from the extraction of raw material through to production, use and disposal. Recognised throughout Europe, it is a voluntary label promoting environmental excellence which can be trusted.

Reduce your carbon dioxide outputs: use energy saving lightbulbs, chose energy efficient electrical goods, buy green electricity, switch off lights and don’t leave computers/ TVs on stand-by, use public transport, a bike or walk instead of taking the car, insulate your house, turn down the thermostat. All of these measures will save you money in cheaper electricity bills! Reduce what you can, offset what you can’t – click HERE to see the Carbon Fund for more ideas and information about Global Warming

Reduce, reuse, recycle: stops our rubbish going to landfill, saves energy (reducing greenhouse gasses), saves resources and doesn’t cost us anything. Find your nearest local recycling centre, by postcode.  For more information see WASTE ONLINEs guide to ‘recycling and beyond’.

Buy recycled: in order for recycling schemes to be successful, there must be a market for recycled products. What do the recycling symbols mean? Click HERE for more information on recycling – how to recycle, what recycling means, where to recycle, etc. Look out for packaging and products that indicate the percentage of post consumer waste along with the recycling symbol.

Compost kitchen scraps and garden waste: more than 60% of the contents of the average rubbish bin is biodegradable and over a third can be easily composted at home. This includes fruit and vegetable peelings, garden waste, tea bags, coffee grounds, cardboard and paper. If not composted at home, biodegradable waste is sent to landfill, where it rots down producing the powerful greenhouse gas, methane. Methane traps over 21 times more heat per molecule than carbon dioxide. Home composting cuts down on transport costs and uses the waste where it is generated with very little environmental impact. For a ‘how to’ guide to home composting and details of where you can buy cheap composters, look out for the North Yorkshire Rotters.

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